BREAKING DOWN CLEAN BEAUTY
“Clean” is the buzz-word of the beauty world at the moment, with all sorts of big brands and small ones claiming to have their heads around ethical sourcing, transparency and organic ingredients.
We’re breaking down what’s clean and what’s not, to help you navigate today’s ‘greener’ beauty aisle.
WHAT IS CLEAN BEAUTY
In a broad way, ‘clean’ beauty refers to any beauty product that is produced with due consideration of the environment, animals and humans. While the term is largely open to interpretation in the beauty world, clean essentially means non-toxic, where ‘clean’ products use only natural, plant-based ingredients.
LEARNING THE ‘CLEAN’ LINGO
When it comes to clean beauty branding, words like ‘organic’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ are flash points that pop up almost everywhere. But is it all just a marketing ploy, or is there ‘devil in the detail’?
Our answer: Well, kind of.
Products with a ‘certified organic’ logo on them indicate that the item has been produced in an organic way, with organic ingredients. In Australia, we follow some of the highest beauty standards in the industry, making the process for earning organic certification lengthy and expensive. Ultimately, any organic product sold in Australia has undergone thorough inspection by an external organisation.
‘Sustainable’ & ‘Green’
These two phrases go hand-in-hand. Any product claiming to be ‘green’, ‘environmental’ or ‘sustainable’ has sourced ingredients and packaging that in no way harms the planet. Often these products will use no-waste packaging and be devoid of unethical ingredients like petroleum and plastic.
Vegan labels will indicate that a product does not contain any animal by-products or ingredients sourced from animals. Remember, vegan products can still contain toxic and non-toxic chemicals, despite being animal-free.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
The list of ingredients to avoid can make cleaning up your beauty act seem like a science lesson. Parabens, Phthalates, Triclosan (and other unpronounceable words) are all ingredients that appear on product packaging in some way. But what are they and what do they mean for clean beauty?
Here’s what to avoid as a rule:
Found in makeup, hair care, shaving and moisturising products, parabens are everywhere and important to limit in everyday use.
The dangers of parabens are in what we don’t know - scientists are still unsure of how harmful they are to the human body. What we do know is that parabens are easily absorbed and play a role in causing hormonal imbalance. Studies have found that parabens can be linked to processes like reproductive organ harm, thyroid disruption and even obesity.
Sulfates are known as ‘detergents’ found in most beauty products. They’re what make your shampoos lather and cleansers foam. Most commonly, sodium lauryl sulfate is known for its bad rep in the world of hair care, for acting as a harsh and stripping cleanser. Its harsh effects can cause dryness, redness and irritation for sensitive skin types.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfates were once thought to be carcinogenic, but recent research has found the risk to be significantly small. Though many feel that this is debatable.
Fragrances & Phthalates
While fragrance is generally harmless, phthalates are what you need to look out for. Phthalates refer to a group of chemicals used to make fragrance in products last longer. They are generally abbreviated as DEP, BBzP, DBP and DEHP on the product label.
The issue with phthalates is that they may have been found to have a significant impact on reproductive and hormonal function in children and men. In some reasearch papers childhood obesity and reduced sperm count have been linked to phthalate exposure.
Formaldehyde has been identified as a potential carcinogen - meaning it has links to cancer formation, in both animals and humans. It is also ranked in the top 10 most common contact allergens, and is known for causing psoriasis and contact dermatitis.
The cosmetic industry has since cleared most products of formaldehyde, but the chemical still lingers in keratin smoothing treatments. Although what is tricky is that most salon keratin treatments will not explicitly list formaldehyde on their product...
What to look out for: Ingredients like methylene glycol, formalin, methanal, and methanediol all release the formaldehyde compound when mixed with water. To be safe, speak to your salon technician and ask for an ingredients list before using any products.
We follow a simple rule of thumb when it comes to clean beauty: If a product is meant to last all day on your face or your skin, then it’s best to swap. We suggest finding natural replacements for face and skin moisturisers as well as for regular items in your morning routine, like oils, serums, deodorants and sunscreens.
Here are our favourites:
SUPER DRINK SUPERCHARGED SERUM | $49.94
Hydrating and nourishing, our Super Drink Supercharged Serum will leave your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
SUPERFOOD FACE OIL | $49.95
A nutritious and aromatic blend of all your favourite superfoods, with a list of plumping actives working in the background to keep your skin young and glowing.
Rose, geranium and sweet lemon scents will carry you through the day with our favourite natural deodorant, sure to keep you dry and fresh from day to night.
ADULT NATURAL SUNSCREEN LOTION | $29.95
SPF 30 in our natural sunscreen will keep all spots sun-protected, and all kiddies safe outside this Summer. We even have a special formula for the little ones as well, in our Kids Natural Sunscreen Lotion.